I don't know where I am!

Airports are the best places to meet some of the most interesting people on the planet. I always enjoy trips that require me to fly because I'm always surprised by something (or someone) that I see. It's a ripoff if you ask me - a hundred years ago people only had to pay a nickel to watch a freak show. Today you have to buy a plane ticket. Stupid inflation.

Last weekeend, Kari and I flew to Charleston, South Carolina to visit my baby brother. At the time we booked our flights, there was no direct flight to Charleston from Dallas, so I got to enjoy people watching at 3 of America's finest airports. With the exception of one lady who didn't seem to realize she was breast feeding her baby in the middle of a teeming mass of people, and two teenage girls traveling alone who reminded me why we are never having daughters, I was fairly disappointed with the number of weird things I saw in Dallas, Charlotte, and Charleston. It certainly wasn't worth the $1000 freak show ticket.

I did, however, have one rather sad encounter with a lady at the gate for our flight out of Charlotte.

A very pretty old lady, probably in her nineties, was wheeled to the gate by a sky cap, and promptly left by herself. The sky cap didn't give her further instructions or even a "thank you." She just wheeled the lady to the gate and left her. In hindsight, I think the sky cap probably realized she wouldn't be getting a tip from this elderly lady, and was ready to move to someone who would be a little more gratuitous.

Obviously confused, the elderly lady started looking around. Panicked, she looked at me and exclaimed "I don't know where I am."

I was tongue-tied. I didn't want to give her too much information, thus insulting her ("You're in a wheelchair honey."), but I didn't want to give her too little information and leave her still confused ("You're on the planet earth. Time to come back"). So, I opted for the middle-ground. "We're in Charlotte, North Carolina ma'am."

"No," she said, "I know where I am. I don't know where I'm going."

I persuaded her to show me her boarding pass so we could figure it out, and recognized that she was headed to Charleston, South Carolina on the same flight I was waiting for.

"No," she said again, "I know where I'm going. I just don't know how to get there."

With the help of another passenger who recognized the lady from an earlier flight, we got this poor woman calmed down and on the flight to Charleston where she was to attend the weddings of two of her grandsons.

Now, I realize that this poor woman was probably dealing with some senility issues coupled with the pressure of being in crowded airports all day. But as I sat down on the plane, I realized how common her quandry was to all of us. No, we're not often stranded and confused in airports, but don't we ask the same questions every day? Aren't the three statements she articulated the three things that cause uncertainty in our own lives?

Where am I? Where am I going? How am I going to get there?

Those questions are so simple, and yet they're at the heart of almost every dilemma we face today. In some sense, our spiritual life, occupational life, family life, and every other aspect of our lives demand that we consider each of these questions.

Try it out. Think about a decision you have to make today. See if it can't be answered by considering the answers to the 3 questions the woman in the Charlotte airport posed at me. You might be amazed.

You know what they say... "Out of the mouth of senile old women..."